Report from the WFNS-WHO Liaison Committee




Report from WHA72: Neurosurgical Participation in the Annual Meeting of the WHO, Geneva, May, 2019.


Gail Rosseau, Chairman, WFNS-WHO Liaison Committee, and

Roxanna Garcia, Neurosurgery Resident, Northwestern University and Communications Manager for WHA 72

It was a pleasure to again see so many committed neurosurgeons join in advocacy for Global Surgery

during the 3rd week in May.

Those who participated in the activities in Geneva, which included a wide variety of programs aimed at improving access to and quality of surgery in the developing world:

Franco Servadei
Peter Hutchinson
Karl Schaller
Kee Park
Russell Andrews
Andre Bartoli
William Harkness
Walter Johnson
Richard Moser
Lynne Lucena
Laura Lippa
Ernest Batholomy
Dylan Griswold
Roxanna Garcia
Gail Rosseau
Marc Levivier

Part I. Summary

On May 18 th , the WFNS delegate members and observers registered and attended the Permanent Council meeting of the G4 Alliance in Geneva, Switzerland. The event took place from May 18-19th and 5 total members/observers attended. The WFNS representatives were then joined by additional delegates on May 20 th , which was the opening day of the 72 nd World Health Assembly held in the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Genève, Switzerland. The event was 8 days with the first annual Technical Meeting of the WHO Emergency and Essential Surgical Care Programme hosted at the World Council of Churches (WCC) on May 23, 2019 from 09:00 to 17:00. The World Health Assembly is composed of core events and daily side events. Topics highlighted at these events included addressing global surgery in the context of universal healthcare coverage (UHC), the global work force deficit, priorities in epilepsy, emergency care systems for UHC, strengthening partnerships for health systems, access to essential medicines, surgical patient safety and quality, surgery in the context of sustainable development goals (SDGs), and safe and affordable surgery.

Part II. G4 Alliance Permanent Council Meeting Summary

The G4 Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organization representing a global alliance for Surgical, Obstetric, Trauma and Anaesthesia Care with over 80 member organizations. The G4 Alliance is committed to advocating for the neglected surgical patient and is driven by a mission to provide a collective voice for increased access to safe, essential, and timely surgical, obstetric, trauma, and anaesthesia care as part of universal health coverage (UHC).

The G4 Alliance 5 th Permanent Council meeting was held between May 18-19, 2019 at the Movenpick Hotel, Geneva, Switzerland. The WFNS affiliates attending the meeting included: Dr. Gail Rosseau (Chair, Liaison Committee), Dr. William Harkness (member), Dr. Laura Lippa (observer), Dr. Roxanna Garcia (observer), and Dr. Richard Moser (member).

The sessions involving WFNS affiliates and members included:

  1. SOTA Equity in UHC, Dr. Rosseau, lead discussant
  2. Working Group on UN and WHO Advocacy, lead discussant and chair, Dr. Rosseau
  3. Overall Discussion of G4 Digital Strategy, InterSurgeon Update, lead discussant, Dr. Harkness.
  4. Member Organization/Potential Collaboration between WFSA and Northwestern, Global Funding in Surgery, project contributor, Dr. Garcia.

The permanent council meeting reviewed the G4 Alliance’s strategic and operational priorities overview of the progress of WHA 68.15 and the importance of UHC 2030, breakout sessions for working groups, and highlighting methods to advocate to governments.

Part III. Meeting Agenda for World Health Assembly (WHA)

The 72 nd WHA is composed of core events that involve UN member states, which happens in the chambers of the Palais des Nations. WHA side events capture and highlight topic areas relevant to public health priorities and practices, some taking place on the UN grounds, while others in nearby venues hosted by invested organizations, agencies, and affiliates. This year a total of 15 neurosurgeons registered to attend WHA through the WFNS. The landscape of global surgery is rapidly changing, as demonstrated by the diversity of events below. Here is a complete list of side events relevant to global surgery with WFNS delegates and affiliates in attendance. The highlight of these events was the day long Technical Meeting of the WHO Emergency and Essential Surgical Care Programme was hosted for the third year to provide WHA participants an opportunity to share progress, identify priority areas, and encourage collaboration.


















AddressingtheShortfallof18millionHealthWorkers[18Cheminde l'Impératrice]






UHC:GoodGovernance,MultisectoralActionsforUHC–Partnerships andParadoxes[PalaisdesNations,RoomVII]

Epilepsy:APublicHealthPriority[PalaisdesNations,RoomXXIV] Leavingnoonebehind:Leadingwithequityfromthecommunitytothe hospitalthroughacomprehensiveUHCstrategy[GenevaPressClub]


InnovationandTraininginSurgery–HospitaldeUniversidadede Geneve]


09:00-17:00 17:00-19:00 18:00-19:30



AcceleratingProgresstowardsSurgicalEquityinUHC[Intercontinental Hotel]



Part IV. 72nd World Health Assembly 2019

A. Opening Ceremony of the WHA72

The core events began on the morning of May 20, 2019 at the Palais des Nations. The editor of The Lancet, Dr. Richard Norton helped open the ceremony of the assembly and emphasized the importance of access to safe, and affordable surgical care after recent diagnosis of a surgical oncologic condition. The WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus then formally addressed the assembly after five contemporary global health leaders were recognized for significant contributions. Dr. Ghebreyesus highlighted the successes of the WHO over the past year including the following milestones:

  • First Malaria vaccine (in Malawi)
  • Campaigns to provide HPV and measles vaccines
  • Heroic responses to violence against health workers, esp. Dr. Richard Valéry
  • Work against diphtheria in Yemen and multiple diseases in Syria
  • Amazing efforts to deliver polio vaccines (in snow!) in Pakistan
  • Global report on road traffic safety
  • Responses to 431 major health hazard outbreaks
  • Release of ICD version 11
  • Heroic responses to Ebola outbreak in Congo, including a man who lost his wife and daughter working as nurse in an Ebola ward
  • Guidelines on Dementia/Cognitive Decline

The opening ceremony with Dr. Tedros addressing the UN state members, delegates, and observers at the 72 nd World Health Assembly.

B. Social Media Outreach G4 & WHA

Analytics Summary May 14 to June 1, 2019

August 2022